Flying Cloud maker / SAT 11-19-11 / Old shippable shelter / Sea bream in sushi bar / Faux amateurs / For Laughing Out Loud memorist / Brand of literature

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Constructor: Allan E. Parrish

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: McPeople — A pair of intersecting Mc- names in each quadrant of the grid

Word of the Day: ETESIAN (13D: Like some annual Mediterranean winds) —
Occurring annually. Used of the prevailing northerly summer winds of the Mediterranean.

[From Latin etēsius, from Greek etēsios, from etos, year.]
etesian e·te'sian n.
• • •

This played Easy-Medium for me, but I can tell from the times at the NYT website that I'm in the minority, and I understand why. If I didn't teach a course on comics, and thus have at least a passing familiarity with the name George MCMANUS, I don't know what would've happened to me in that (deathly) NE corner. That thing was its own puzzle. Both Mc's were phenomenally obscure / old. Old-timey intersecting Old-timey coupled with ETESIAN intersecting NISI (!?!?) (22A: Like some divorce decrees) coupled with "The CID" ("The" When is it ever not "El"!?!?!) (10D: Alfonso VI exiled him, with "the") coupled with TAI (31A: Sea bream, in a sushi bar) — that's a recipe for trouble. I was bailed out several times in this puzzle by personal and/or puzzling experience. I'd seen [Flying Cloud maker] in puzzles before (REO). I know NISI is a Latin legal word, so even though the context here was baffling to me, I got it ("S" = last letter into the grid). IPO and CLU and EMU (33D: Noted six-foot runner) were all gimmes (cluing / answer length on IPO and EMU were dead giveaways). Biggest luck-out, besides the MCMANUS thing, was QUONSET (40D: Old shippable shelter), which I know about only from stumbling on it in some other crossword. Misspelled it QUINSET, but figured LOINS was probably not another word for [Fruitcakes], and fixed it. I thought figuring out the MC- theme would make this thing a piece of cake, and it certainly helped, but the cluing got ratcheted up enough to offset the McHelp.

Theme answers:
  • MCGWIRE (1A: Cardinal making many round trips) — nice clue
  • MCCOURT (1D: 1997 Pulitzer-winning memoirist)
  • MCCAREY (?) (8A: "Going My Way" Best Director winner)
  • MCMANUS (8D: George ___, "Bringing Up Father" cartoonist)
  • MCQUEEN (38A: The King of Cool)
  • MCCLAREN (?) (38D: Formula One racing legend Bruce)
  • MCMAHON (42D: "For Laughing Out Loud" memoirist)
  • MCBRIDE (42A: Martina with five #1 country hits) — by far the easiest of the Mc's to get

[29D: 1978 Grammy winner for the jazz album "Friends"]

Not that fond of CARSON'S or its clue (17A: "___ Comedy Classics" (syndicated TV series)); I've never seen / heard of this alleged series. Is it still on? I assume it's something to do with Johnny Carson. Yes, here you go. It's a terrible partial, is what I'm saying. MADAMES isn't the greatest plural, but it saved my neck in the NE, so no complaints (18A: Pompadour and others). I was frustrated that I couldn't get the second half of either ICE- or RAIL- during my first pass at them (28A: Producer of a chilling effect + 47A: Track team member?). My brain actually went to COLA and CONE (?) before CUBE. The "Carmen" clue is mean-spirited, of course, but once I got the "CE-" I figure out what it was after. TAI was rough, though I know I've seen it before. BECCA, also rough (30D: Daughter on ABC's "Life Goes On"). That's going way back for a secondary TV character from a never-that-popular show. No idea who Baal Shem Tov is, but I had enough crosses to make HASIDIC pretty easy (61A: Like Baal Shem Tov's sect). Can't for the life of me remember who ETHAN Brand is. I wanted ELTON, but he plays basketball. Well, I guess I can be forgiven, since it's from a Nathaniel Hawthorne short story. One that I didn't read in college, apparently (20A: Brand of literature). My favorite clue / answer of the day was RINGERS (24D: Faux amateurs). I don't have a good explanation for why.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Clark 12:16 AM  

I got totally slaughtered. That is all.

Hannsoph 12:18 AM  

Surprised to see a theme in a Saturday puzzle. Had 2 Mc answers (not together) and knew the third couldn't be just a coincidence. Liked Carson's Comedy Classics in the puzzle with McMahon.

Mark Murphy 12:19 AM  

This might have been my best Saturday time ever; luckily, though, I know a lot about old movie directors and old comic strips. (That course sounds interesting, by the way.)

"Carson's Comedy Classics" was a syndicated half-hour show compiled of sketches from (as you guessed) Johnny Carson's "Tonight" show. I haven't seen it around in a long time; perhaps the folks who run the Carson estate pulled it so they could better promote DVD compilations of the show.

Evan K. 12:31 AM  

You could say I caught on to 1A: MCGWIRE right off the bat.

Tobias Duncan 1:18 AM  

Way beyond me. I could complain about sports clues but I am not even sure which ones were sports related.
Do they still make Geritol? This puzzle made me feel like I had "tired blood".

Anonymous 1:54 AM  

I really hate to do this but I am desperate. Martin, if you read this please contact me at bonigreg [at] surewest [dot] net - I need the turkey brine recipe you posted years ago on the NYT Crossword Puzzle Forum. I've used it on every turkey I've cooked since but have now lost it. I'm pretty sure my family will disown me if I do something different.

An old Cru member.

r.alphbunker 2:18 AM  

NE corner did me in. Had to google MCCAREY, MCMANUS, ETHAN (although I suspected that was what it was, but really wanted dOC for the post partial) and BECCA.

1 ******
2 ******
3 ********************
4 **************
6 ***
7 **
9 *****
10 **************** [google!]

65A said it all.

andy 2:32 AM  

I frequently enjoy coming to this site, but looking back a couple puzzles I got really irritated with what appears to be your equally frequent whiney prickishness when things don't fit your view as king of crossworld.

Specifically "Abdel??? With an 'E'? Ugh...". Guess what, it has an E...


erik 3:53 AM  

did you go with "Medium-Challenging" because of the initials

jae 4:34 AM  

NE was a killer. Missed the NISI/ETESIAN cross. R was my first choice. Plus I went with GOONS instead of LOONS. MCGAREN didn't look that bad. So, DNF by two squares. Getting the MC theme helped but not enough. Just too much stuff I had to guess. Doomed to fail. Other than that a pretty good Sat.

amana cerebra mcmichaels 4:47 AM  

Loved the MC theme, on a Saturday, no less! And 8 of them beautifully laid out, and it was super helpful, even tho I'd not heard of MCCAREY MCMANUS MCLAREN, but got the others, tho had to actually squeeze my brain.

I had a one-square mistake, as per usual. RAMIN?O Since I wasn't sure about the R either and didn't parse it as two words, I thought there was a slang word for "butt" I wasn't hep to.
Look at her fine RAMINgO!
Whoa, can't get enough of that RAMINzO!
?AI for sushi was impossible for me even tho I eat sushi at least once a week (Hello, @PuzzleSister and thanks again for dinner!!!)
so RAMINtO wasn't even considered.

Biggest writeover (other than the whole NE, what with CutIT, itStrue, and the every-letter-wrong writ/NISI...) was
CARtOon for CARSONS. I thought it might be a Sat a.m. thing.

So the CARSONS/MCMAHON was fab.
Almost offsets 7 of the 8 being men as per usual...

(More MADAMES please...)

CEREBRA was my FAVE answer

Glimmerglass 7:49 AM  

My favorite was RINGERS . . . because I knew it. I finished the bottom half quite quickly, but struggled to work north. The NE fell because of CLAN, which gave me CLIMATE and MADAMES (with the Mc pattern). None of that came quickly or easily. The NW, however was even harder for me. Didn't catch McGWIRE until the end (great clue--mad I missed it). CHEAPEN one does to something (or someone); "depreciate" is what something does itself over time. Not a good clue. CARSONS I never heard of. ON IT is nastily clued. The key to TYLENOL is the capital A on Allergy, which I noticed but didn't process. Definitely a challenging Saturday, which is what I hope for.

mac 8:57 AM  

Good workout, but I could not finish the NW. It didn't help that I had McLaine (@andrea: tried to squeeze in female) at 1D, and, in desperation, McFerry at 1A. Yes I just made it up, but look at the clue!

Just too many people and things I didn't know. But who would have thought a country singer, McBride, would be my first entry.

By the way, isn't the plural of Madame Mesdames?

Leslie 9:13 AM  

So mad at myself. My one wrong square was "etdan" because I could NOT let go of "post doc." Post HOC? Sure, now I see it, but at the time I just gave up and figured someone in literature was going by the awkward name of E. T. Dan Brand.

I'm an idiot.

And thanks for the explanation of CEE. Knew it had to be right, but couldn't figure out why.

@erik: LOL!

dk 9:43 AM  

I had big up dos for 18A and fluff for 11D. Then I got cheesed off at fill like CEE & RAILCAR. Realized just maybe that I was over reacting. See @Andy's post but insert dk instead of our dear OVERSEEr.

Bringing up father is forever etched in memory from learning about alcohol related diseases. Father had gout and gin is often the cause. And, rhinoceros sweat through their earlobes... now you have a PhD.

I rate this one NOTEASY and a NETLOSS for this lad. The puzzle is fine just not in my wheelhouse, to use a term of art.

An Acme moment - photographed a Chic COREA performance in the old days. A very nice man.

Andrea! Butt! (insert Beavis and Butthead chortles about here)

*** (3 STARS) Lots of cool fill I just was not ONIT.

@Andy, prickishness? Where were you yesterday?

Hobbyist 9:49 AM  

It is de Pompadour. Pompadour is a hair style, no?

Gwinns 9:51 AM  

NE wiped me out. Never got that S in ETESIAN/NISI. The only Latin legal word I was familiar with was NOLO. Had to Google MCMANUS-- Ironic because I could have got it with the clue "Name of Bar You Go To All the Time."

The only time I've ever seen Carson's Comedy Classics on TV is as an infomercial. Yes, it's half an hour long, but its purpose is to sell DVD box sets. In my book, that doesn't count as syndicated.

Bob Kerfuffle 9:52 AM  

Medium-Challenging indeed!

Pretty much a perfect Saturday puzzle - just when I was ready to give up, everything fell into place.

Only one write-over at 64 A, Run - had OPERATE before OVERSEE.

Z 9:55 AM  

Get out the Geritol - this puzzle makes me feel downright young.

McGwire - 1980-90's ball player
McCarey - died in 1969
McCourt - 1997
McManus - died in 1954
Ethan Brand - Short Story from the 19th century
Carson and McMahon - left the tonight show in 1992
McQueen - died in 1980
McLaren - died in 1970
Quonset Hut - WWII
Clu Gulager - 83 year-old actor.
Madame Pompadour - 18th century celeb
The Pompadour - 50's hairstyle
El Cid (the?) - 12th century

At least McBride is someone known from this century. And Madame Pompadour and El Cid are old enough to be historic, not just old.

GILL I. 9:55 AM  

I wasn't terribly wowed. I always expect to look up a word I don't know on a Sat. I knew all the words but some of the Mc's failed me. Like @mac, MCBRIDE was my first entry; never heard of MCCAREY or MCMANUS.
I'm a McMahon and I do plenty of laughing out loud so it was fun to see 42D. Speaking of, I always want to ask why people pronounce it mac-ma-hone. It's even more fun when I'm in a foreign country. The French make it sound like something you would not want to eat.
Did love seeing Steve MCQUEEN. He was more that the King of Cool to me. I had a huge crush on him. Did you ever notice that in his films he hardly every spoke? I like that in my man.

quilter1 10:26 AM  

I finished the top half then slowed down in the bottom half. CEE was my final entry, and I really hate when constructors do that. But I liked the theme and the other clever cluing.

Thanks for the demure portrait of Jeanne Antoinette de Pompadour. The hairstyle was popularized by her.

foodie 10:32 AM  

I got McKilled...

jackj 10:32 AM  

The six MC clues give us an interesting quasi-themed puzzle for a Saturday but then it compounds its confused state with more additional mini-themes than any one puzzle deserves.

I count at least three of these mini-themes; first there are the conjoined medical "OL's", TYLENOL and GERITOL; or, then, try the gaggle of ending "I's", NISI, TAI, HIFI; and, of course, there were the Cousin IT(T)'s with the missing (T)ail, OWNIT, CANIT, YESITIS.

Wrap all those in with the killer MC's and you have a Thanksgiving cornucopia or a mess, your call.

ENSTEEL was a Yuck! and ETESIAN was a Huh? and Allan Parrish missed a chance to inflict some real pain on the sports clue haters had he clued 38 down, MCLAREN, as "Retired NHL defenseman Kyle".

NISI is a concoction only lawyers could devise, as it refers to a decree which has no force until a specified condition has been met. (I think it might be reaching, though, to think one could enter into a decree which specifies that, "My ex-wife's alimony will double, When Pigs Fly".)

On to Sunday, head held high!

Tita 10:45 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nancy 10:47 AM  

Got most of it. Was mad at myself about not getting McQueen; I kept thinking Marshall McCluen (sp?) was the King of Cool, but couldn't remember how to spell it and it didn't seem to fit. Basically, though, I hated this puzzle: Obscure names of pop culture people always thwart, frustrate, irritate and bore me. One such name is one too many; this one had about 8!

foodie 10:48 AM  

I got McKilled...

But the Quick and Dirty Index puts this on the Easy side of Medium...
I think a subset of people who are good at names or have special knowledge like Rex would fly through it. And of course the MC part helps immensely...

Tita 10:48 AM  

@mac - mesdames is indeed the plural.
@dk - I wanted hAirdoS or MADAMES, but fluff wouldn't let me...

NE just killed me - google didn't even help.
Had mcoy for 9D Fued side (before I realized the theme). That and fluff certainly didn't help.

Got QUONSET from ....SET, though I ddin't know it ws shippable.
I did know that my favorite airport, White Plains, had been a quonset hut before it got "updated".
Those were the days - you could park right up near the tarmac, bound right in and jump on your plane.

Well, it is only recently that I have come to expect that I could finish Fridays and Saturdays without googling, so not too surprising that my streak is over...

Oscar 10:58 AM  

That was McRough. Thank goodness for software that lets me check for wrong letters or I'd be doing this until next Saturday.

My wife helped with the top half, and says that BECCA was no 2ndary character. She was the daughter of the family and the show was about the family, she says. I'll have to take her word for it.

If only Troy McClure had made an appearance...

hazel 11:07 AM  

a total ruination. McWho crossing MCWhatever as keystones in each freaking sector. yeah I puzzled it all out until I got BUTTED by the NE. What a horrible mash up of obscurities there, and penned in by two Macs I've never heard of.

MCQUEEN was the coolest thing about the puzzle and also CANIT. I like saying that from time to time to a deserving soul.


MaryBR 11:08 AM  

Made a very lucky guess as I wrapped up in the NE with _TE_I_N. Didn't know any of the crosses but sounded it out and guessed correctly. The MCs were somewhat helpful even though MCBRIDE was the only one I put in immediately, and only had heard of three of the other seven (MCQUEEN, MCCOURT, MCMAHON).

Anonymous 11:11 AM  

Got all the Mcs, but as with others found the northeast impossible. Even with "madames" filled in, the concentration of answers I wouldn't know I had right if I did (Etesian, nisi, tai) was too much. My lack of sushi knowledge did me in. And given it's specificity "Yes it is" never occurred to me as interchangeable with "Indeed so."

Anonymous 11:20 AM  

Sushi has "tai" as"red snapper." Black sea bream is an altogether different word of three syllables, which I've already forgotten.

Too many goddamned names, many obscure to the point of vanishing from this earth.

davko 11:23 AM  

Nice St. Patrick's Day puzzle, a few months behind (or ahead of) schedule.

Wasn't fooled for a nanosecond by the Cardinal round-tripper clue -- it's the spelling of Big Mac's name that always gets me! Miss the 'W' and you're in a world of trouble trying to tease out the cross.

Bruce McClaren's legacy lives on -- the question is, can it overcome the Red Bull Racing juggernaut next season?

Norm 11:26 AM  

Ugly & borderline unfair puzzle in the NE in my opinion. ETESIAN/ATESIAN -- total Natick with MCCAR?Y. Same with the TAI crossing. Seriously considered TOI on the off chance that it was related to KOI but -SIAN was more suited to the adjective the clue was calling for. That section was just brutal all in all. Had an easier time elsewhere since the MC-theme was evident. Took an embarrassingly long time to come up with MCGWIRE (I still think of him as an Oakland A rather than a Cardinal), but the NW fell quickly with CHANTEY. Put in HASIDIC off the bat and had little trouble in the SE. And, the SW was probably the easiest corner of the bunch, since I remember watching MACLAREN race and my parents (Dad was a Marine) lived in a Quonset hut on a base in Nevada after my older brother was born. Despite the NE, I liked this puzzle.

Sparky 11:27 AM  

Completely flummoxed although I knew MCMANUS. The CID? Bah. Had RINGERS.

It's after 11. The liquor store is open. Le Beaujolais Nuveau Est Arrive.

Anonymous 11:32 AM  

Had an "A" in the box with 13 in it, the only thing I got wrong.

I hate it when people like andy get all whiney, prickish and irritated about other people being whiney, prickish and irritated.

Mr. McLaren has a type of car named after him.

Saw Chick Corea at an outdoor show in Hawaii back in the late 70's. Muddy Waters was also there.

Not happy with "ensteel". Just a stupid word...

JaxInL.A. 11:38 AM  

@Martin, I would not mind seeing that recipe here if you care to post again.

I did not enjoy this puzzle even a little bit. Not in my wheelhouse, extremely obscure clues even for already difficult things, and even extensive Googling didn't get me within hailing distance of finishing.

Many grimaces even when I got things like CID, MADAMES, HOC. I echo some of the comments above. And HIFI is not a record holder but a record player. Ugh. Sorry but I really hated this one.

Hope L.A. Times is more rewarding.

jae 11:47 AM  

@foodie -- How big is the "N" on your quick and dirty relative to a typical day/Sat.? When I finished this on my IPAD last night the list of folks that had completed it was about 1/3 of usual number.

TH 11:50 AM  

I'm surprised Brian McEno didn't appear in this one.

jackj 11:54 AM  


Martin is a solver for the NY Times and, in that role, seems to be a daily poster at the Times (Wordplay) site while he only visits here sporadically.

I'd suggest you also post your request to Martin on the Wordplay site. I'm sure he'll be happy to help, especially for an old Cru member (says another old Cru member).

Martin will certainly not want to see you disowned by your loved ones!

Mel Ott 11:55 AM  

I was about to congratulate the constructor for not crossing those theme names with other obscure names when I ran into the BECCA/CEE cross sitting on top of MCBRIDE. That was a killer for me.

@Tobias: Only one of eight names is sports-related, unless you consider auto racing a sport. (Jes' kiddin', NASCAR dads.)

The hut is named after QUONSET Point in RI. I think the things were built there during WW II.

Anonymous 12:12 PM  

Sweet Andrea forwarded my request to him and the recipe was in my email this morning. I can forward it to anyone that wants it.

Two Ponies 12:12 PM  

I want my $2 back.

Jp 12:12 PM  

What is so special about having 8 clues with MC----? And mostly obscure names at that. Hated this one.

Jim 12:16 PM  

A lot to say:

Liked CARSONS. Inferred it from the R and N and it made me smile, as I'm sure that's where they got the KRUSTY'S KOMEDY KLASSIC from. "Hey hey kids! KKK?!?! Ohhhh..."

Loved BECCA since I was a kid. So cute and mature for her age. In case she's reading's Corky doin'?

It is MCLAREN, one C.

Had ENlIstS before ENTICES. My only writeover save...

The NE. Wow, was that tough. Had iTalIAN after some struggle and figured it was good enough, save the terminal -iY, which I hemmed and hawed about for 30 minutes. Had Nolo then changed it to NolI as in no liability (divorce) then punched my steering wheel. Only know pompadour as a hairstyle so wanted some kind of spanish something-or-other...MArAcaS or MAnaloS or some such. Again, my steering wheel got a beating.

The theme helped up there, but couldn't reveal the last six or eight letters to finish. Oh well, at least it means I'm not THAT old-timey in my sensibility.

Oh, and ENSTEEL will now embiggen my vocabulary.

Mel Ott 12:27 PM  

Oh, I wanted to mention Bringing Up Father, a great old comic strip. A major theme theme was Jiggs sneaking around behind upper-crust wife Maggie's back to hang out with the guys at the local bar, drinking beer and eating corned beef and cabbage. It was an interesting take on class distinctions.

Jim 12:28 PM  

BTW, 28 seven-letter answers, with nothing longer, plus an eight-answer theme. Pretty god-damn awesome construction.

But, Mr Parrish, would an appearance by McLovin be too much to ask for?

imsdave 12:45 PM  

Easy here, for some reason. Didn't know MCMANUS or MCCAREY but the crosses were mostly fair (the E in ETESIAN was a guess, but looked right). Enjoyed the car guy crossing of MCQUEEN and MCLAREN.

syndy 12:47 PM  

I was a little worried when my first entry was NISI but then my macdonald kicked in, sometimes weirdly-I have no idea how I knew MCMANUS but I plopped it in anyway Mcclarey fell easily from crosses. and thr rout continued I think I resent 9 down! EL means THE ...CEE was my last entry and made me go GRRR however I did think ETESIAN was a wind that came of a summer?

JenCT 12:48 PM  

Total McFail for me.

My biggest takeaway from today is @Rex saying that he teaches a course on Comics - that is so cool!

McBye for now.

Tita 1:21 PM  

10D-related tangent...
There was also an Alfonso IV of Portugal, who was the brother of Catherine, who was the queen for which Queens is named...

@Anonymous @ 11:32...
Agree about ENSTEEL...
I foreced in aNneall, which is of course not only wrong spelling, but opposite in meaning!

@Anon @ 12:12 - pls forward!
tereza [at] lattinslanding [com]


quilter1 1:26 PM  

@JaxinLA: I use Alton Brown's brine recipe. It is on the Food Network website.

Yeah, some of the names were tough, but I thought the crosses were fair and I didn't find the NE to be that thorny somehow. As we have said many times, it comes down to your knowledge set and I always hope to be adding to mine from the things I learn from the puzzle. I am even finding myself considering "J-LO" as an answer now and then :)

evil doug 1:58 PM  

"My biggest takeaway from today is @Rex saying that he teaches a course on Comics - that is so cool!"

Where I formerly taught, NKU, you could also take a course in the History of Rock and Roll, Charlie Chaplin, or (I kid you not) Lady Gaga.

Yeah, good practical courses. And college grads hanging out with the bums, anarchists and criminals at Occupy Wall Street wonder why they can't find jobs....


evil doug 2:24 PM  

...not to mention their parents, wondering why courses like those justify their tuition bills going up 10% each year.


Matthew G. 2:50 PM  

Possibly my least favorite Saturday puzzle of all time. I hate an excess of proper names, and I especially hate it on a Saturday when I am looking forward to nice tough non-proper words with smart clues, not a bunch of you-know-it-or-you don't celebrities. Ugh. I hated, hated, hated this puzzle.

I only knew three of the McFolks in this grid: MCGWIRE, MCCOURT, and MCQUEEN. Don't know who the others are and I don't care. They're taking up space in my Saturday puzzle that could go to cool words. And even as to MCQUEEN, I didn't know his nickname, so the clue was unhelpful.

I slogged through to finish with one error: ETESIeN/TeI instead of ETESIAN/TAI. Didn't have any trouble with NISI, being a lawyer, but even though I eat sushi on a fairly regular basis I don't recall seeing TAI on the menu. Also, isn't -IEN a more common ending in French than -IAN? That one surprised me.

Nothing objectively wrong with this puzzle, honestly. Just as far from my personal tastes as a crossword can be.

Martin 3:03 PM  

I'm happy to post my turkey recipe. If the off-topic nature is frowned upon, I'll understand if it gets axed.
I use a natural turkey -- not fancy heritage, but also not one that has an ingredient list. I'd be concerned that those are effectively brined already.
You need a container that will fit in your refrigerator, with turkey and brine. I use a plastic 5-gallon trash can (reserved for brining). Measure the water you will need to cover the turkey in your brining container. I always make 3 gallons, so this recipe is for that much water. Adjust as needed.
Tuesday night
Boil water.
Add 4 cups of kosher salt, 3 cups brown sugar, 8 bay leaves, a bunch of fresh thyme, 1/4 cup crushed black pepper, 15 crushed allspice berries and 3 cloves.
Boil for 5 minutes. Cool overnight.
Note. Kosher salt has much more "air per cup" than granulated salt. If you have to substitute, maybe try 3 1/4 cups granulated salt for 3 gallons of brine.
Wednesday morning
Puree 4 onions, 6 cloves garlic, 1/2 cup Dijon mustard. (My blender requires 2 batches, and using a little brine to help puree.) Mix puree with brine.
Add 2 quartered lemons and 2 quartered oranges to brine, squeezing quarters.
Brine turkey, refrigerating overnight. I brine a 22# bird for about 24 hours. It never tastes salty, just succulent. If you use a smaller bird, maybe brine about 16 hours.
Thursday morning
Remove turkey, discarding brine. Rinse and dry well. Proceed with roasting as you normally do, but be aware that a brined turkey needs less time. In my convection oven, it's dramatically so. A 22# bird is ready in less than 3 hours at 325. Ovens vary, but start checking sooner than you're used to.

Anonymous 3:28 PM  

Have nailed every Saturday puzzle for months. Thought NE was ridiculous as was your rating. Try miserable. That corner was ajoke

John V 3:38 PM  

Total McNatick here.

I agree that 15A clue is wrong. The correct clue should have been deprecate. We need a new rating for this level: Uber-Challenging, IMHO.

pawines: Here this from my kids sometimes.

Brian 4:07 PM  

Over 80% not common words. Soon have to call them Crossname Puzzles?

Shamik 4:31 PM  

Happy just to have finished. Medium-challenging for a Saturday. But it felt like a crusher all the way through. Last to fall was NE. Yeesh. But just what one wants out of a Saturday. Thanks, A.E. Parrish!

SethG 5:35 PM  

Tear out the upper right, replace it with something bearable at the difficulty level of the rest of the puzzle, I would have enjoyed this.

JenCT 5:46 PM  

@evil: LOL

I actually took The History of Rock & Roll - knowing that people would sign up for it thinking it'd be a total blow-off class, the professor made his tests ultra-challenging.

I know it gave me a greater appreciation for music and its history.

Now, if there was an entire curriculum in such courses, as a parent, I definitely wouldn't want to be paying for that...

Remember, Will Shortz has a degree in Enigmatology, and look where that got him!

hazel 6:11 PM  

@martin - thank you! i've never brined before, and am going to give it a shot this year!

your post was by far the best part of today's puzzle experience!

Chip Hilton 6:16 PM  

@SethG - My sentiments exactly. I foolishly told my wife that I was in the zone for a second straight day when the west fell like dominoes. The lovely Ms. MCBRIDE unlocked the SE and then . . . nothing.

'bye, @Andy.

Lewis 6:16 PM  

@th --- very funny!

@jim -- loved your last line in your first post.

I would have been lost without Google, but with the Google answers in place, it was a satisfying solve. By the way, Ed McMahon was the narrator of Carson's Comedy Classics (according to Google).

Tita 7:52 PM  

Anyone else baffled by the Sunday electronic puzzle?
Not sure how to interpret the notes in the 2 versions. The PDF's note mentions slashes, but I see none. Should there be slashes where the circles exist?

From AcrossLite:
Although this Across Lite version does work, due to features that cannot be duplicated electronically, it is recommended that solvers download and print out the PDF version of this puzzle. As a second-best alternative, print out this Across Lite version and solve on paper.
In the circled squares of this crossword, the Across and Down answers do not actually cross. Write both parts in those squares. Then use the central Across answer to interpret them properly to spell an appropriate final word. 

From the PDF:
Note: In some squares of this crossword (as indicated by slashes),
the Across and Down answers do not actually cross. Write both parts in the squares. Then use the central Across answer to interpret them properly
to spell an appropriate final word.

Good grief - if I can't figure this out, doesn't bode well for solving the puzzle...!

Thanks in advance.

Tita 8:08 PM  

Wait - I just checked WordPlay blog, and there is yet another explanation...

I am going with printing out via AcrossLite, and treating the circled squares as slashes.

(capcha: blablet - what I feel i've been on this blog lately...)

Martin 8:17 PM  

The posted pdf is wrong. The slashes are missing. Use Across Lite. You can print it out and put the down and across character in the circled square. Or you can solve online and use the Insert key to enter both characters. You'll see them fine. But if you use the latter method, don't expect to see Mr. Happy Pencil, because AcrossLite wants either the down or across character, not both. But if you solve on paper, you won't get Mr. Happy Pencil either, so what's the big deal?

Tita 8:20 PM  

I always solve on paper - I don't need no stinking Happy Pencil...

Thx'd think they could figure out 1 way to explain this, rather than 3 - it ain't that hard, eh?

Anonymous 8:43 PM  

XWord Info has the correct PDF here.

Noam McD. Elkies 12:15 AM  

Anent 13D:ETESIAN: Crosswordese, meet Scrabblese. I read in Word Freak that ETESIAN is one of the commonest "bingos" ["bingo" = 7-letter word, earning a 50-point bonus if it's played without using any letter(s) already on the board]; I don't remember if I knew what it meant — I've probably never seen it used in a sentence.


Dirigonzo 9:49 AM  

10:00am Sunday is probably time to throw in the towel an a Saturday puzzle. Finished all but the NE corner where having "derrier" (yes, I now see it's spelled wrong) for "Butt" crossing "chill" for "Enough already!" totally destroyed any chance of making progress there.

Now on to the (syndicated) Sunday puzzle to see if I can redeem myself there.

(@Gil I.P. - "Did you ever notice that in his films he hardly every spoke? I like that in my man." That was my only chuckle of the day.)

william e emba 3:22 PM  

Like Rex, I found George MCMANUS easy (although I needed the ---AN-- first, but I was kicking myself for not knowing it cold).

I instantly put down ETHAN Brand. Then I thought and thought and thought, but could not remember who he was, but it sounded vaguely 19th century American. When the puzzle was over, I looked it up--I had read that story in high school.

NISI versus Nolo is a Latin/legal gimme.

The Baal Shem Tov was an utter gimme for me. It was almost my first entry, and it was my first real foothold for making headway.

Still, the puzzle gave me a lot of hard knocks. I was dubious about RINGERS and EMU for the longest time, because I wanted RBI or ERA for the ballpark fig. It took forever before I noticed both together gave me good crosses. And I was thinking ---WIRE was some kind of birdy, haha.

sanfranman59 3:48 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio, the higher this week's median solve time is relative to the average for the corresponding day of the week.

All solvers (this week's median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Mon 6:42, 6:50, 0.98, 48%, Medium
Tue 10:46, 8:52, 1.21, 92%, Challenging
Wed 9:10, 11:49, 0.78, 6%, Easy (8th lowest median solve time of 124 Wednesdays)
Thu 19:53, 19:04, 1.04, 62%, Medium-Challenging
Fri 23:31, 25:30, 0.92, 34%, Easy-Medium
Sat 27:27, 29:57, 0.92, 29%, Easy Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:34, 3:39, 0.98, 43%, Medium
Tue 5:20, 4:34, 1.17, 90%, Challenging
Wed 4:36, 5:51, 0.79, 6%, Easy (7th lowest median solve time of 124 Wednesdays)
Thu 9:33, 9:19, 1.03, 62%, Medium-Challenging
Fri 11:08, 12:36, 0.88, 29%, Easy-Medium
Sat 16:18, 17:04, 0.95, 44%, Easy-Medium

With that NE corner, I can't believe this puzzle came in at Easy-Medium

william e emba 12:39 AM  

BECCA alert!

This Sunday's Doonesbury (11/20/11) has a character named Becca, mentioned by name. She was introduced a few months ago--I certainly didn't remember her name. Now I will!

chad 11:12 PM  

Thought some of the clues were way off-base here. I couldn't finish the puzzle without finally looking at Rex's solution. Greee.

Anonymous 11:12 AM  

Spacecraft here. Hey, I know "the CID!" He lost to the Man, right? Yeah, he's from Kincinnati. That's an ugh, as is ENSTEEL. And I will pick one more nit: "hope for" does NOT mean AWAIT. You might be awaiting something you definitely do NOT hope for. In a sea of marvelously misdirecting but just barely fair clues, this was the only bad one.
Had a tough time at first with this one; the MCBRIDE gimme did not immediately lead to other MC's, so I thought it was just an isolani (chess term for an unsupported pawn; I'd like to see it in a puzzle sometime). And though that led to ISAIDSO, I didn't get much else in the SE.
Filled in CLU, NOTRE, ANA (a mini-ugh, as clued; when will they stop that?) and SRAS. LIKENO other would be clued "unique;" the "-ly" on the end was fair and square, in that adverbializing the clue led to ASNO instead. All this led to a quick finish of the SW, including finally remembering MCLAREN. Hmm, two MC's in the same puzz? And then I saw the across. Never knew ol' Steve as the "king of cool," but the M_Q____was a "duh."
Now I returned to the NW with MC's in my head, and MCGWIRE came instantly. Knew ETHAN Brand, but was very bothered by 7d. It wanted to be ENSTEEL. Really? ENSTEEL? Prepare for the attack, troops--ENSTEEL yourselves! UUGGHH!! I shrugged and put it in anyway.
The NE was most resistant to being cracked. I finally grokked that I'd been overthinking (see what you do to me, Will?) "pattern of highs and lows." Oh crimeney, it was just CLIMATE. And "dryer option?" I'm thinking FLUFF, or some other setting on the dial. No, my friends, I've been Shortzed again! It's an option of WHICH dryer to BUY! Arrrgh! My brain hurts!
Nevertheless, brain pain and all, I finished with no errors and no help. A very satisfying feeling. YESITIS.

today's captcha was actually
china: what my head felt like when I was done.

Simply, Ron 2:02 PM  

Great puzzle, most interesting theme. I worked it out over 1.5 hours, with only 2 blanks in the SW. I rated this "Challenging," no doubt about it. Evil Doug, you're the main reason I keep returning to this blog. Keep it up, my good man!

Waxy in Montreal 3:21 PM  

From syndiland: yeah, Challenging as far as I'm concerned too. Other than McManus and Madames, not much obvious here. A quibble perhaps but since Mark McGwire retired a decade ago, I excluded him early on due to the present tense used in the clue for 1A - wonder if this puzzle in fact has been gathering dust on someone's shelf for quite a while. Only came back to McGwire after the theme revealed itself. Time now for some Geritol to ensteel all the weak iron in that tired blood of mine...

Talking of ballpark fig.'s, captcha=parks. And wasn't Rosa just in yesterday's puzzle? YESITIS synchronicity cuz ISAIDSO!

Waxy in Montreal 3:23 PM  

And a Merry Christmas to all of us who reside out on the syndicate.

Dirigonzo 7:41 PM  

I got my butt kicked by this puzzle 5 weeks ago, but I had to come back here on Christmas Eve to wish joy to all the denizens of Rexville no matter what holiday you celebrate around the winter solstice. Family, friends, community - these are what truly matter and this is a wonderful time to celebrate them. Peace and love to everyone.

Red Valerian 11:57 PM  

@Dirigonzo and @Waxy--hear, hear!!!

Ecumenically and irenically (no, not ironically) yours.

Anonymous 2:06 PM  

Started on Saturday, finished on Monday. A lot of Christmas in between, but still this took me a good long time, mostly because there were so many Macs I did not know.

Last entry was the second E in CEE, which I literally wrote over a T (guess) as this page was loading. Thanks, DSL.

Only error was NIrI/ETErIAN, and as that was one of several pure guesses, I consider that a triumph. Next time I'll be ready for NISI.

McManus video would have been cool...

Anonymous 3:11 AM  

put in BIGWIGS right away for 18A, and TOWEL for 11D using the W cross, and patted myself on the back for my ingenuity, till several hours later was wondering what the heck had gone wrong... fun puzzle other than that NE corner, though

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